Monday, December 26, 2016

Speed Kills: Paper Vs Actual Damage

One part of EVE I don't think the New Player Experience teaches new Minmatar pilots are all the factors that reduce the amount of damage artillery and autocannon do compared to the amount listed in the fitting tool. I did one of the COSMOS missions in my Rupture yesterday and experienced the variation first hand. As an experienced player I had fun playing with the variables and experimenting with the way I flew my ship to maximize the damage I dealt. I never realized how much I could increase the damage from a set of artillery just by turning off my afterburner. Or how turning on my afterburner could really increase my damage output.

Confused? Math is involved, but the Eve University wiki does a good job of explaining two concepts, tranversal velocity and angular velocity. First, an explanation of transversal velocity:
Transversal velocity in EVE describes the speed at which an object moves perpendicular to you, i.e. its orbital velocity. In other words, it is a metric used to describe the sideways movement of you and an object relative to one another. To get an sense of what this means, below is a list of some examples.

A high transversal velocity occurs when:

  • Two ships orbit one another at the same speed in opposite directions (maximal transversal)
  • One ship orbits a stationary ship
  • One ship flies "north" and the other flies "east/west" with respect to one another
A low transversal velocity occurs when:
  • Two ships fly directly away or toward one another (zero transversal)
  • Two ships fly perfectly parallel to one another at the same speed (zero transversal)
  • One ship chases the other ship
The transversal velocity is computed by subtracting the two velocity vectors (i.e. both magnitude and direction) from one another, and then finding the length of the vector. This differs from angular velocity (below) in that it is not affected by the distance between both objects.
My Rupture is set up to kite NPCs at a distance. Artillery doesn't have the best tracking, which means a smaller, fast ship is harder to hit. A way to maximize the damage is to reduce the transversal velocity by getting the NPC to directly follow the ship. I discovered that frigates were difficult if not impossible to hit if flying perpendicular to the NPCs flight path (or "crossing the T" in naval parlance) at full speed. But once I turned off the afterburner, I started hitting the frigates trying to close in. Just that reduction in speed lowered the transversal enough to allow me to start blapping NPCs.

The second concept is angular velocity:
Angular velocity describes in EVE the speed at which you and an object rotate around each other. It is measured in radians per second, with π (3.14) radians equal to 180 degrees. For example, if you have an angular velocity at 6.283 rad/sec, then you are orbiting a full circle every second (since 6.283 = 2 * PI). Angular velocity has a very important relationship with transversal velocity. 

People often debate between using either transversal or angular velocity in an overview setup. Both variables display similar information; however, angular velocity is much more useful in practice, due to its use in turret to-hit calculations. It essentially allows for an easy comparison between your (or your opponent's) turret's tracking speed and the angular velocity. If the angular velocity is greater then the turret's tracking speed, you'll begin to miss, but having a smaller angular velocity than the turret's tracking speed means maximizing the hit chance. 
I did warn that math was involved.

Basically, the above passage indicates that the effects of transversal velocity are minimized by distance. The farther away the ships are, the lower the angular velocity. Or in simpler terms, bigger ships can't hit small ships if they get close enough. Or small ships get easier to hit by bigger ships the farther away they are, at least until the falloff modifier overtakes the velocity modifier.

I should add one qualifier about the angular velocity information. Due to a change in April, the module information no longer lists the turret's tracking speed. I see a number listed as "Turret Tracking", but have no idea how it relates to any of the information listed in the overview. I just try to kite the NPC's and let the principles about angular and transversal velocities take care of themselves. Or, in other words, I fly by feel and experience.

The important takeaway is that the damage in a fitting tool is the maximum possible, not what one will obtain in space. Good flying and proper fitting can make a ship perform near those levels. In other words, EVE isn't just about the skills in your head, but the skills at the keyboard as well.

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